October

  • History Faculty named Curator’s Distinguished Professor

    Massimiliano Vitiello, Ph.D., one of two UMKC faculty honored
    The University of Missouri Board of Curators recently named Massimiliano Vitiello, Ph.D., of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences a Curators' Distinguished Professor. Vitiello conducts research on ancient history, Late Antiquity, Byzantium and the early Middle Ages, with an emphasis in Roman History. He is the M.A. program adviser for the history department and a faculty member in the Humanities Consortium. “The period I work on is the migration, the barbarian invasions for the Roman Empire,” Vitiello said. “This is all in the fifth, the sixth and the beginning of the seventh century AD. It's one of the fields, especially in the United States, that was established in the 1970s. It’s actually a fairly new field of study.” Vitiello was born in Rome, Italy. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Messina in Sicily in 2001 and a postdoctoral License in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, Canada, in 2009. He has worked as a researcher in Germany, where he has held such awards as the Alexander Von Humboldt Fellowship, the DAAD Fellowship and the Heinrich Hertz Fellowship. He began teaching at UMKC in 2010 and quickly joined the tenure track. While at UMKC, he has been awarded the Trustees’ Faculty Scholar Award in 2015, the UMRBand the Norman Royall Professorship. He was also awarded early tenure in 2015. “The environment at UMKC has always been very nice,” Vitiello said. “You feel that you are supported. If there is any issue, you can always talk to the people above you and rely on the advice. They put you in a very relaxing atmosphere, which actually is very productive for the research.” Though already a highly decorated researcher, Vitiello feels very fortunate to receive this recognition from the Board of Curators. “To reach this point, especially like in a field like mine that’s a little bit less known than other fields, it makes me feel that what I've been doing matters,” he said. “I’m leaving a legacy that goes outside of the department, and that makes me feel good.” He also hopes this draws attention to the importance of Humanities across the University of Missouri System. “Our society is an expression of the way we understand the present, the way we understand the past, how we understand the legacies and humanity,” Vitiello said. “The humanities should not be underestimated. They don’t generate the big money, but they definitely generate good people, which is very important, especially now.” Oct 31, 2022

  • Lifetime of Research Leads to Prestigious Award

    Niemi named Curators’ Distinguished Professor
    Tina Niemi, Ph.D., knew she wanted to be an archeologist or a geologist from a young age. Now, as an Earth and Environmental Science professor at UMKC, she is inspiring the next generation of scientists.  Niemi, who teaches in the School of Science and Engineering, was recently named a Curators’ Distinguished Professor by the University of Missouri Board of Curators. It is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Curators, and it is given to a select few outstanding scholars with established reputations. Growing up, Niemi said her mother kept a large rock garden in their backyard filled with all kinds of souvenirs from time spent hunting arrowheads on her grandfather’s farm. This started her love of archeology and geology. She went on to study both archelogy and geology for her undergraduate degree, geo-archelogy for her master’s and earthquakes for her Ph.D. Niemi specializes in geoarchaeology, sedimentology and active tectonics. Specifically, Neimi’s scientific interests include studying active faults, earthquake recurrence in the geologic and archaeological records, reconstructions of ancient environments, analyses of high-resolution geophysical data and the study of recent hurricane and tsunami sediment deposits. “It’s crazy to think I’m doing exactly what I dreamed about as a kid,” Niemi said. As a field geologist, Niemi and her students collect aerial imagery using drones and stratigraphic (rock-layering) data from outcrops, trench excavations and cores to build a deeper understanding of the history and nature of tectonic, climate and anthropogenic (human-influenced) environmental changes through time. One of Niemi’s favorite parts of being a professor is her connection with her students and research her student-led teams have conducted. Under her supervision, students have had the chance to participate in real-world research in Mexico, Guatemala, the Bahamas, India, Jordan, Turkey and on the San Andreas fault and New Madrid seismic zone. “I’m very proud to have mentored nearly 60 undergraduate research projects and have facilitated probably another 40 with my NSF [National Science Foundation] student research projects,” Niemi said. “I’ve had students put in their evaluations that it was life-changing – that it changed the trajectory of their careers.”  Along with Niemi, Massimiliano Vitiello, Ph.D., of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was also given the award. Both were celebrated at the UMKC Promotion and Tenure event earlier this month. Oct 31, 2022

  • Meet the Class of 2023 Alumni Award Winners

    Sixteen alumni and one family will be honored March 10
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2023 Alumni Achievement Award recipients includes a criminal defense lawyer who has argued (and won) before the United States Supreme Court, a civil rights activist, a national CEO and a legacy family whose name is well-recognized in the Kansas City legal community. Each year, UMKC recognizes a select group of alumni for their amazing and inspirational accomplishments. The event offers a chance to share the achievements and successes of graduates UMKC sends out into the world each year at Commencement. The Alumni Awards ceremony is one of the university's largest events to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for UMKC students. Join us in honoring the Class of 2023 awardees at a celebration at 5 p.m. on March 10 at the Westport Commons. Visit UMKC's Alumni Association website to learn more about this year's event. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. University-Wide Alumni Awardees Alumnus of the Year: Sean O'Brien (JD '80) O'Brien is a nationally recognized criminal defense lawyer, with successes in the United States Supreme Court and federal and state courts across the country. At least 17 innocent and wrongfully convicted individuals have been exonerated largely due to his efforts, and he has personally been responsible for at least 24 individuals being removed from death row. Prior to returning to UMKC to teach in the early 2000s, he served as the chief public defender in Kansas City, Missouri. From 1985 through 1989, he served as executive director of the Missouri Capital Punishment Resource Center, now the Public Interest Litigation Clinic. In addition to teaching Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Wrongful convictions at the UMKC School of Law, O'Brien is the director of various pro bono criminal defense clinics, including the Death Penalty Representation Clinic, Public Defender Appeals Clinic and the Public Defender Trial Clinic. He continues his work in criminal defense through these clinics. Spotlight Award: Bruce Bubacz This year, Bubacz will celebrate his 50th year of teaching at UMKC. He has touched the lives of more than 5,000 students over the course of his tenure. He is a Curators' Teaching Professor of Philosophy and professor of Philosophy and Law. He joined UMKC in 1973 and served as founding director of the College Honors Program, a program for academically talented undergraduates, from 1979 until 1985. He chaired the Philosophy Department from 1987 until 2000 and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences between 2000 and 2002, served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics from 2004-2005 and as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs from 2005 until 2007. He was also the chair of the Philosophy Department to UMKC Forward academic realignment in 2022. The Bill French Alumni Service Award: Patricia Macdonald (BLA) Macdonald has a long history in nonprofit management, research, strategic planning and resources development. She is the Director of Strategic Ventures and Operations for the Healthcare Institute for Innovations and Quality at UMKC, the past president of the Mid-American chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, chair of the UMKC Alumni Association Multicultural and Community Affairs Committee and a past president of the UMKC Alumni Association. She has participated in numerous campus activities, from search and selection committees to gala planning. In 2016, she was awarded the CASE VI Volunteer Service Award given to those who have demonstrated tremendous service for higher education institutions in the Midwest. Defying the Odds Award: Rev. Carl Moore (BME '68) While attending college at Alabama State in the spring of 1960, Rev. Moore was arrested for protesting racial inequality. As a result, he could not return to the university in the fall -- so his mother put him on a train to Kansas City, where he began attending UMKC. After graduating with a degree in music education, Rev. Moore taught high school music for three years before taking a job as a sales representative for IBM, where he stayed for the next 24 years. At the age of 40, Rev. Moore felt called to ministry and began taking courses at the New Orleans Seminary and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and accepted his first pastorate at a small church. Rev. Moore continues in ministry today at Allen Temple AME Church in Woodstock, Georgia, where he has consistently grown his congregation yearly. Legacy Award: The Accurso Family The Accurso Family's legacy at UMKC dates back generations. Joseph C. Accurso attended what was then Kansas City University and laid the path for many generations that followed to become Roos. Family members include Louis Accurso, who earned his BA from UMKC in 1978 and his JD in 1981. Just seven years later, he founded one of Kansas City's most well-recognized law firms: the Accurso Law Firm. His sons, Christopher (BA '11, JD '17), Anthony (BLA '12, MD '12), and Patrick Accurso (JD '18) went on to continue the legacy. Countless other family members have also attended including Joe Accurso (BA '72), Mike Accurso (BBA '82), Melissa Accurso (BA '88), Tammy Dickinson (JD '98), Terri Accurso (BA '02, MA '12), Danielle Roy (MS '09), Alex Vigola (BSM '16), Chad Vigola (BS '14), and Chad Vigola (BS '14). Members of the family have graduated from nearly every program on campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Computing and Engineering, School of Education, School of Law, School of Nursing and Health Sciences and School of Medicine. School Alumni Achievement Awardees * College of Arts and Sciences: Mike Marusarz (BA '04) and Rhiannon Ally (BA '05) Marusarz: Reporter and weekend morning anchor, Channel 7 Eyewitness News Ally: Anchor/Correspondent, ABC News School of Biological and Chemical Sciences: Beth Harville (Ph.D. '95) Senior Executive Vice President and Provost, Drury University Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Ramin Cherafat (MBA '02) CEO, McCownGordon Construction School of Computing and Engineering: Ken Gerling (BSCE '91) Vice President Transmission & Distribution, Burns and McDonnell Conservatory: Charlie Corcoran (MFA '01) Award-winning scenic designer School of Dentistry: Cesar Sabates (DDS '87, AEGD '88) Former President, American Dental Association. Dental Practice, Solo General Dentistry School of Dentistry- Dental Hygiene: Heather Samuel (BSDH '90, MSDH '91) Retired Professor of Dental Hygiene, Johnson County Community College School of Education: Chris Brown (Ph.D. '93) Chair, Division of Counseling and Psychology, UMKC School of Law: Scott Bethune (JD '88) Founding member, Davis, Bethune & Jones, LLC School of Medicine: Arif Kamal (MD '05) Chief Patient Officer, American Cancer Society School of Nursing and Health Studies: Shweta Palakkode (BHS '15) Health Policy Analyst, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services School of Pharmacy: Craig Norman (BS '83) Senior Vice President of Pharmacy, H-E-B *Nominations were collected before UMKC Forward realigned academic units. Next year, some awardees will be named in their new academic units: School of Science and Engineering, School of Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences. Oct 27, 2022

  • Exploring Degree Programs, Finding Herself

    Ophelia Griffin chose UMKC and discovered their passion and self
    Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about. Ophelia GriffinAnticipated graduation: 2025Academic program: University College, moving into communicationsHometown: Lee’s Summit, MO Why did you choose UMKC? I took a gap year after high school graduation because of COVID. I had a plan for college, but I knew I couldn’t mentally do it under quarantine. I was working during my gap year and some of my friends were going to UMKC. They said it was a great place to be yourself, so I applied and now I’m here! I love it, it’s such a good place to be. You are currently an exploratory student in University College and plan to major in communications. Why did you choose communications? I love making connections with people and just talking with them. I hope to be a business manager, or maybe own my own business one day! What are the challenges of being an exploratory student in University College? Understanding myself and the type of person I am, coming to terms with what I’m good and not so good at, has been a challenge for me. Just learning about who I am as a person has been a journey. What are the benefits of being an exploratory student? Exploring everything UMKC offers has been really cool. I love hearing from other students what they want to go into; a lot of my classmates want to do really cool things that I didn’t even know were possible. I just think it’s great to see people having different interests and exploring their options. How has University College inspired you? I was an orientation leader, and I tell students going into University College that they’ll find out what they’re supposed to do and where they’re supposed to be. The College planted a seed in me and allowed me to blossom into the person that I am. It helped me understand who I am and what I can accomplish here. I love it. What do you think you’ve learned about yourself since being at UMKC? I’m a really hard worker and that I try to succeed in everything I can. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to have slip-ups; it’s not the end of the world and I can bounce back. You’re vice president of the University Theatre Association, a senator in Student Government Association, member of UMKC Democrats and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. What inspired you to get involved in so many organizations? I have no sense of time management and love saying yes to things. My first year at UMKC, my advisor, Rachel, sat me down and told me that getting involved is key to a good college experience. I’ve met so many people here who inspire me to get more involved because I love having so many connections on campus. Who do you admire most at UMKC? As a whole, the theatre group really inspires me. Everyone contributes to making theatre a good, safe place to be. Our president, Hannah, is one of the most hard-working people in the program. She gives 110% and I feel so lucky to be her vice president. I’m just inspired by what she does and how she does things. What are you most proud of during your time at UMKC? My grades - I was worried about taking a gap year before starting college. But I’ve realized that I’m a smart and capable person, and my grades have never been better. Is there anyone who is a mentor to you on campus? Rachel Hughes, she was my boss when I was an orientation leader. All summer during orientation, she made sure that we had fun and made students feel at home. What do you hope to take from your time here into your professional career? I hope to start my own inclusive business one day, mainly because of the experience I’ve had here at UMKC. It’s so diverse and so inclusive to everybody. I want a business that shares the same amount of love for people. Oct 21, 2022

  • Disability is Used to Stigmatize, Silence or Exclude People, Advocate Says

    Kim Nielsen, Ph.D., spoke about the history of disability in the United States and why it matters to all of us
    Disability is central to U.S. history and shaped the body of the nation, according to Kim Nielsen, Ph.D., an award-winning historian and disability justice advocate. Nielsen, a distinguished professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo, delivered the 2022 Social Justice Lecture at UMKC on Oct. 20. She spoke about the history of disability in the United States, why it matters at this moment in time and what disability justice really looks like. She illustrated her talk with stories from history and her personal life. Nielsen first became interested in disability history when writing - or, as she said, procrastinating on - her dissertation. She was reading far-right-wing publications from the early 1900s when she came across lists of the most dangerous women in America. To her surprise, Helen Keller was on several of these lists. Keller was an author, outspoken advocate for disabled and marginalized peoples and a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was wary of being too involved in politics because she was viewed in terms of her deafness and blindness. “The assumption that disability equated political incompetency effectively silenced her, while her disability did not. It was attitudes, not disability, that was the problem,” said Nielsen. “The story of U.S. history is the story of independence, autonomy and ruggedness. But it’s also a story in which dependence is bad, including any weakness or reliance on others. Disability is stigmatized partly because of this.” “Disability is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be quite fine. Letting go of ableism will make life easier for all of us."      - Kim Nielsen Helen Keller’s story was just one example Nielsen gave of the times throughout history that disability was used to stigmatize, silence or exclude people. Several of her stories made the point that disability was used in history to justify racism, sexism, homophobia and more. At different points in history, the concept of disability was used to control immigration, legitimize homophobia and keep women from attending college. “The categorization of bodies as disabled has always been entwined with other power hierarchies,” said Nielsen. “The definition of disability was shaped by homophobia, antisemitism and classism.” This moment in time is pivotal for disability justice, Nielsen says. Covid left approximately 19 million people disabled, either temporarily or permanently. The pandemic also contributed to mental health needs for many people. Additionally, experiencing racism can leave physical, emotional and psychological trauma. “This is our contradiction and our crisis. We are at this national, and perhaps global, moment in which disability justice and activism are flourishing, but ableism and disregard for people with disabilities is also flourishing.” When speaking on disability justice, Nielsen gave a statement she described as simple but radical. “Disability is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be quite fine. Letting go of ableism will make life easier for all of us. I believe that if we’re comfortable with disability and dependence, we can more easily ask for help. None of us can do everything. Knowing when and how to ask for help is a really good thing.” Nielsen is a historian focused on disability history and justice. She is a distinguished professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo. Nielsen is the author of the widely used “A Disability History of the United States,” multiple other books and articles, and co-editor of the award-winning “Oxford Handbook of Disability History.” In addition, Nielsen has received two Fulbright appointments, numerous scholarly prizes, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa.   About the lecture series: The Social Justice Book and Lecture series invites participants to think critically about the historical context of social justice issues and foster a sense of community and dialogue surrounding the issues. Students, particularly first-year students, engage with the chosen book through related coursework, projects and initiatives. The series is part of Social Justice Month, a time for thought-provoking reflection and engagement for the campus community. A series of events throughout the month focuses on social justice issues at both the local and national level. Oct 21, 2022

  • Sunderland Foundation Gives $30 Million to UMKC Health Sciences District Project

    New cutting-edge educational facility will serve as a catalyst for growth and position the district to become a premier academic medical district
    The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a $30 million gift today from the Sunderland Foundation to help fund a new state-of-the-art medical and dentistry building in the UMKC Health Sciences District. The project will escalate momentum for expanding the district into a major regional academic medical center that can provide innovative health care, attract top medical students and researchers and generate billions of dollars in jobs and economic development, while advancing care for the underserved. The multi-story, $120 million Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Building will house new dental teaching clinics and expanded medical school teaching facilities. In addition, it will provide space for the UMKC Health Equity Institute, the university’s Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center and its new Biomedical Engineering program. “We are grateful to the Sunderland Foundation for their investment in taking the Health Sciences District to the next level, spearheading an academic medical center with extraordinary community benefits,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “This gift -- by a local foundation that supports making big positive change in Kansas City -- is an investment not just in a building, but in a truly big, longer-term vision. We believe our new building will escalate momentum to exponentially expand the Health Sciences District in coming years to become the major regional academic medical center that we know it can be.” On hand today to help announce the gift was Gov. Mike Parson, who in July signed legislation from the state of Missouri to appropriate $40 million for the building. This appropriation came with a challenge to the Kansas City community to raise the additional funds needed. “We are proud to support the efforts of UMKC to improve educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math to expand health care access in the state of Missouri, particularly in rural areas,” Parson said. “Missourians will reap the benefits of increased collaboration between health care services and the data science and biomedical engineering programs that will share the building. This partnership could help further health outcomes through new, innovative solutions right here in Missouri.” Grants from the Sunderland Foundation focus on brick-and-mortar projects for established organizations to foster a stronger, safer and more vibrant future for the communities it serves. “The Sunderland Foundation is proud to give to UMKC’s efforts to transform the Health Science District,” said Kent Sunderland, chairman of the Sunderland Foundation. “The cutting-edge facilities will provide innovative training opportunities for tomorrow’s doctors, dentists and healthcare leaders who will improve prosperity in our neighborhoods, cities and state. The Sunderland Foundation and UMKC share a mission of caring for the underserved and lifting neighborhoods.” UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the country where schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies and Pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, an arrangement that facilitates interprofessional training for students and opportunities for research collaboration among the health sciences. Additionally, the new building will create opportunities for increased collaboration among UMKC and its health district partners including University Health and Children’s Mercy, which allows for a greater capacity for finding health solutions and providing patient care. This project will expand UMKC’s mission to elevate health equity across Kansas City, including many initiatives that work with the underserved including UMKC’s dental clinics, the Sojourner Clinic and the Center for Health Equity, which works through a network of churches in the urban core. Oct 19, 2022

  • UMKC Celebrates Transfer Students

    National Transfer Student Week is October 17-22, but resources are available year round
    All Roos are welcome, and we want to make sure our transfer students have what they need. Even if you’re a new student, you’re already part of the UMKC family. National Transfer Student Week celebrates transfer students at UMKC and provides critical resources for academic and career success. Supported by the Office of Student Involvement, the Honors Program and Admissions transfer students have the opportunity to work with people in these organizations to help students find their fit and their future at UMKC. But resources for transfer students are not limited to one week; we support our Roos from the first day they’re on campus until they move their tassels at graduation and beyond. Center for Transfer Students and Adult Learners The Center for Transfer Students and Adult Learners is a one stop shop for students coming to UMKC to find help with transferring their existing credits, learning about available scholarships and on-campus housing and anything else they may need to become a Roo! Transfer Student Network The Transfer Student Network helps new Roos connect with the UMKC and Kansas City communities by connecting them with other transfer students, informing students about student organizations and supporting professional development. Academic Support and Mentoring UMKC Academic Support and Mentoring meets students where they are and supports them academically and personally. Supplemental Instruction is a core component for student success in hi-risk courses. SI targets historically challenging courses by teaching students how to increase their performance. RooUP Seminars are a component of ASM that provides informational on-demand videos covering topics such as exam preparation, goal setting and overcoming procrastination. The Writing Studio offers free one-on-one peer consultation to help students focus on organization and presentation of content in their writing assignments. First Gen Roos create a community-within-a-community with events geared toward first generation college students. Register today! Financial Wellness Center Staying on budget – even figuring out what your budget can be – can be challenging. Personalized money management coaching is available through the UMKC Financial Wellness Center. Resources on creating a personal money plan, building your credit history and finding a place to live, are conveniently in one place. Individual coaching sessions and emergency resources are also available. Financial Aid Finding financial aid and scholarships can also seem challenging, but coordinators are available to help you identify resources. Appointments are available online and in-person to help accommodate your schedule. Oct 19, 2022

  • Joy Roberts Expert Resource for Fox 2 News

    Interim dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies discusses nursing shortage
    Missouri hospitals are seeing the highest vacancy rate of nurses ever, up more than 12% from 2018, according to the Missouri Hospital Association. Joy Roberts, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies for the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said the problem isn’t only a lack of nursing students. Finding faculty to teach the profession is also a struggle. Read more. Oct 18, 2022

  • KSHB Relies on Expertise of William Black

    UMKC Economics and Law Professor provides inflation insight
    Interview with William Black, an UMKC economics and law professor, explores impact of latest inflation data on Kansas City-area. Read more. Oct 18, 2022

  • School of Medicine Receives 2022 Award for Excellence in Diversity

    National magazine recognizes UMKC medical school for second time for diversity and inclusion efforts
    INSIGHT into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity publication for higher education, has recognized the UMKC School of Medicine with its Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for the second time. One of only two schools in Missouri to receive this year’s national honor, the School of Medicine also received the award in 2018. “We are proud of the work at our SOM that allowed us to be recognized with the 2022 HEED award,” School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson said. “Our DEI efforts are made possible through not only the passion and commitment of our staff and faculty who lead initiatives, programs, and outreach, but we see these efforts translate to a positive impact on student recruitment, retention, completion and ultimately to benefit the health and welfare within our community and beyond.” INSIGHT Into Diversity selected the School of Medicine for its efforts supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. Among those are new programs such as UNITED (Uniting Numerous Medical Trainees in Equity and Diversity), a program to support resident and fellowship trainees, an anti-racism and cultural bias program for medical students, a summer success seminar series for incoming B.A.-M.D. students, and expansion of the school’s successful STAHR (Students in Training, Academia, Research and Health) program. The school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has also received an increase in its budget to support programming and initiatives, has added an assistant dean to the office, and has been an active part of a care team for students in academic risk as well as admissions and selection committees for the school’s academic programs. Dean Jackson praised her staff. “Congratulations to Dr. Tyler Smith and Ms. Doris Agwu, our associate and assistant dean respectively, Drs. Ayanda Chakawa and Wail Hassan, who lead our Diversity Council, and all of the staff and faculty who work tirelessly to envision, promote and expand the DEI footprint at our medical school,” she said. Smith said, “We are honored and humbled. Receiving the HEED Award recognizes our programs and initiatives that embrace the medical school’s mission towards creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture within the learning and clinical environments for graduate and medical students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff. As a top priority at UMKC School of Medicine, we strive to infuse DEI into all academic units while ensuring that all identities feel seen, heard, valued and respected.” The School of Medicine, as well as 64 other recipients, will be featured in the December 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. A.T. Still University College of Graduate Health Sciences, an osteopathic medical school with a campus in Kirksville, is the only other Missouri college to receive this year’s honor. UMKC received the HEED Award in 2019 and the UMKC School of Dentistry received the award for health professions schools in 2016. “The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.” Oct 17, 2022

  • Instructor, Student Pas de Deux

    World-renowned professor mentors UMKC ballet student
    The heart of UMKC is our campus community. With lots of opportunities, it’s easy to develop student mentorship teams. And these rich relationships—our Dynamic Duos—are some of our best success stories. Simone Davis (BFA ’22, dance) chose the UMKC Conservatory because she knew that the training curriculum and the faculty were renowned, and she relished the opportunity to study with them. While she has been a student at UMKC, she has performed as a guest artist with various dance companies including Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Störling Dance Theater, Tristian Griffin Dance Company and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. Despite her professional success, she still maintains a vigorous instructional practice in addition to her classes.  She and Karen Brown, assistant professor of dance, work together regularly. “Karen and I began working together last summer. Before she came on campus I learned more about her career. I was very excited to work with her.” Brown is well-known in the dance world. She danced as the principal ballerina with the internationally renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem from 1973-1995, served as artistic director of the Oakland Ballet, and assistant professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is certified in all levels of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. Brown founded En Pointe Plus Dance Mastery Institute to optimize motion analysis technology in teaching sessions to improve dancers’ form and prevent injuries. While Davis was not familiar with Brown, she was excited to learn from her when she knew more about Brown’s career. It turned out to be a good fit professionally and personally. “The connection was natural,” Davis says. “KB has an intensity in teaching that helps push students further, which is very beneficial.” Brown was thrilled when Davis reached out for private lessons. She offered Davis the opportunity to work as her assistant during her Master Classes. Brown notes that Davis has a strong sense of technique and a good sense of her body. She is working with Davis on moving beyond her comfort zone, as well as fine tuning her form to avoid injury. “Much of dance is a science, and I’m teaching her to set herself up for the same outcome every time,” Brown says. “When a dancer gets better in the studio, they manifest that on stage because they are confident with their technique.” She says that Davis is at that point in her practice. “Simone is ready to go. She’s going to try new things. Because of her talent, she has already had a lot of opportunities to perform.” Davis admires Brown’s intensity. “Most dancers and dance educators have similar personalities,” Davis says. “So that’s what I respond to. As an emerging artist, having a mentor is important.” “Most dancers and dance educators have similar personalities. So that’s what I respond to. As an emerging artist, having a mentor is important.” - Simone Davis Brown respects Davis for her focus and her work ethic in return. “She’s been out in the world performing and making money with her craft. She's a good performer. She presents well, she's beautiful. Her work is fine tuning her technique.” Currently, Davis is dancing professionally with Quixotic Fusion in Kansas City. There, she’s been able to participate in immersive performances, where the fourth wall is broken. She feels this offers a new connection with the audience. She plans to live in Kansas City following graduation, while she continues to travel and perform on a freelance basis throughout the country. Brown is confident in Davis’s success. “She’s very kind. She has a great work ethic. Her aesthetic, her creativity, the way that she learns and studies, these are the important things that take longer to teach. If someone doesn’t understand this, they might not even think to learn them. We have a great deal of respect for one another.” Oct 14, 2022

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Honor Visionary Leaders in KC, Beyond

    Honorees included tech giants and artists
    Six innovators were awarded during the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Regnier Institute’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Started in 1985, the event celebrates the contributions of entrepreneurs in Kansas City and beyond by recognizing the work of Kansas City entrepreneurs and leaders, global industry leaders and students. The 2022 awardees: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year Award: David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology. David Steward began WWT in 1990 with a handful of employees and a 4,000-square-foot office. WWT now employs more than 9,000 people at more than 20 facilities around the world. It generates more than $16 billion in annual revenue. Steward is a civic leader and philanthropist committed to expanding opportunities for Black people and others from historically under-represented and underserved communities. Kansas City Entrepreneur of the Year: Justin Davis, co-founder and CEO, BacklotCars. Justin Davis has never taken no for an answer. When he launched BacklotCars in 2015, Davis said he was criticized by those who did not see his vision to create a new model for wholesale automotive auctions, replacing scheduled events with a 24/7 online marketplace for dealers. However, he persisted. “Entrepreneurship is about being bold,” said Davis. “It’s about brining an unlikely group together and building something special.” Just five years after it launched, BacklotCars sold for $425 million. Davis stayed on as CEO. Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship: Bart Houlahan, Jay Coen Gilbert and Andrew Kassoy, co-founders of B Lab Founded in 2006, B Lab provides a corporate certification program to companies that meet rigorous standards in addressing social and environmental problems through their businesses. It has now grown to include nearly 6,000 companies around the world who have committed to using business for good. Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Tate Berry Tate Berry is a double major in jazz studies and business administration. He previously won the Honorable Mention Creative Venture prize in the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge with his concept for a big band and is also working on launching an online music entrepreneurship studio that also serves as a more affordable alternative to music school. As part of his honor, Berry will receive a $2,500 scholarship. Prior to the event, attendees learned about business ventures by students from Bloch and the Kansas City Art Institute at the Student Venture Showcase. “Kansas City has a long history of creating and supporting entrepreneurs, and UMKC is committed to bolstering that culture by both providing resources for entrepreneurs and providing our students with hands-on learning experiences - on campus and in the community,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal.All proceeds from this event directly benefit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s student and community programs. The Regnier Institute at the Bloch School focuses on connecting students and community members with a comprehensive combination of world-class research, renowned faculty, cutting-edge curriculum and experimental programs driven to deliver results and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Oct 13, 2022

  • Robin Carnahan, Congressman Cleaver, Mayor Lucas, GSA Tour UMKC's High-Tech Research Center

    The group saw insights into UMKC's environmentally friendly emerging technologies
    Former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Mayor Quinton Lucas and members of the General Services Administration toured the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center to learn more about how UMKC's research on renewable energy could be used in government facilities. The goal of the group's visit was for the GSA to learn more about emerging technologies at UMKC and how ongoing research here could assist the federal government in making federal buildings greener. Led by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and School of Science and Engineering Dean Kevin Truman, they also had an opportunity to see the solar panels on the roof of the Plaster Center and hear first-hand from students about their work. "It's always a pleasure to visit UMKC," Carnahan said. "A lot of people think that if we are going to combat climate change it's going to be by planting trees. But really what it comes down to is looking at different ways we can reimagine basic construction materials like concrete and asphalt, and they are doing a lot of that great research right here." The Plaster Center, which opened in fall of 2021, is a $32 million, five-story, 57,800 square-foot high-tech research center. It features 11 state-of-the-art research labs and is the largest privately funded capital project in UMKC history, with more than 25 donors. The labs within the Plaster Center contain a 3D printing lab and fabrication studio to build prototypes, high-performing computing and analytics equipment and software, an FAA-approved flight simulator, a two-story drone flight-testing bay and $3 million of augmented and virtual reality equipment. The labs aren't just for UMKC faculty and students -- the facility is also a community hub where people from across the university, city and region can come together to discuss, design, build and innovate while propelling economic activity in the region through free enterprise. Some of the technology within the labs is not available anywhere else in Kansas City, allowing UMKC to remain state-of-the-art in research and education while helping our community partners do the same. Oct 13, 2022

  • Search Underway for New Dean of the School of Law

    Leader will maintain and enhance the school’s established record of excellence
    The university has launched a search for an inspiring and innovative leader to serve as Dean of the School of Law. The new dean will be responsible for providing academic, strategic and administrative leadership for the school in the context of a diverse and vibrant urban-serving public research university. The dean also will be tasked with articulating a vision for 21st-century legal education and for enhancing the school’s already strong relationships with its alumni and the legal, business, non-profit and government communities.  “Our goal is to hire an inspirational leader for the Law School who can maintain the high standards in place, recruit and retain a diverse group of students and faculty, and set a bold vision for student and faculty success in alignment with our University Strategic plan,” said Jenny Lundgren, provost and executive vice chancellor.    The new dean will be building on a legacy of excellence at the School of Law, including:  An academic program with national rankings for bar passage, employment rates, practical skills training, trial advocacy, legal writing, family law and more. The entrepreneurial and scholarly faculty   Entrepreneurial and scholarly faculty, whose innovative interdisciplinary courses and research stay at the cutting edge of the law.  Community connections and service, with ten clinics, dozens of field placements, and hundreds of community partners. “Please join me in expressing our sincere appreciation to Dean Barbara Glesner Fines for providing superb leadership for our School of Law during her tenure as dean,” Lundgren said. Dean Glesner Fines will continue to lead the School of Law as Dean until her successor is appointed, when she will return to the full-time faculty. The search committee is chaired by Bruce Bubacz, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Political Science and Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of Law. The full roster of the search committee is listed below. Others will have the opportunity to provide input during the campus interview portion of the search process. The committee aims to conclude the search in the spring semester for a summer 2023 leadership transition.  Full search committee   Bruce Bubacz, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Political Science and Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of Law Ashley Swanson-Hoye, Director of Law Student Services Chadayne Clive Lloyd Antonio Walker, Law Student and Student Bar Association President Timothy Lynch, Professor of Law Allen Rostron, Associate Dean of Students, William R. Jacques Constitutional Law Scholar and Professor of Law  Mikah Thompson, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Law  Jasmine Abdel-khalik, Professor of Law  Randall Johnson, Professor of Law  Ayyoub Ajmi, Associate Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library  Lisa Weixelman, Senior Partner, Polsinelli; UMKC Trustee  Honorable Ann Mesle, UMKC Law alumna and retired Judge, 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Jackson County (retired) Danielle Merrick, Clinical Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic Marie Dispenza, Director of Major Gifts, School of Law and Executive Director, UMKC Law Foundation Oct 13, 2022

  • Community Leaders Discuss Food Deserts Affecting Kansas City, St. Louis Region

    The discussion was a part of the continuing collaborative, UniverCities Exchange
    Academic and community leaders from Kansas City and St. Louis met virtually to discuss issues combating Missouri’s urban food deserts during this year’s UniverCities Exchange. UniverCities Exchange is an ongoing collaborative project between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri-St. Louis and gathers community leaders and academic experts to discuss problems and possible solutions affecting the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas. The project began in fall 2020 with a discussion of health disparities during the COVID pandemic. The goal of the conversations is to foster a connection for future collaborations across Missouri. In this year’s installment, the panel discussed the current state of resource availability and historical events that have led to food shortages. Steve Kraske, host of KCUR’s Up to Date and UMKC journalism professor, served as moderator. Panelists included: Dina Newman, Director of UMKC’s Center for Neighborhoods Aimee Dunlap, UMSL Associate Professor of Biology Erica Williams, Executive Director of Red Circle Max Kaniger, CEO of Kanbe’s Markets Here are some highlights of the panel’s conversation regarding the problems and how communities are addressing them: “The Kansas City food landscape has really changed – literally and figuratively – over these last few years. I don’t think you can get a lot for $200 or less. You can drive through these communities of concern and see small, medium and large urban gardens and urban farms. And you can see the diversity of things these people are growing. If the pandemic showed us one thing, it’s about the affordability and the accessibility of food and people are beginning to realize how vital the food system can be.” -Dina Newman “Living in a food desert can affect your life in many ways. From the not being able to get enough food to feed your family in a way that is affordable, accessible, and attractive, but it also affects the region itself. Grocery stores provide a lot of jobs and sales tax revenue to a region. When you have an area that does not have a grocery store, you are taking all your sales tax revenue dollars and putting those somewhere else.” -Erica Williams “I think there is lots of potential for success in things like canning and cooking demonstrations. It’s great to grow kale, but then what do you do with it? I think sharing knowledge about cooking and making food in a healthy way, can help to inspire people.” -Aimlee Dunlap “With Kanbe’s, we wanted to come up with a model that supported small businesses that are already here and supported the infrastructure in our communities while, in the best way possible, supporting the local farm system and reducing waste on the massive wholesale farming industry. We wanted to fill a gap. From there, we have grown, and we are now distributing to over 40 convenience stores, five days a week, and getting a whole lot of healthy food into the community.” -Max Kaniger To watch last year’s UniverCities Exchange, click here. Oct 11, 2022

  • China Global Television Network Features UMKC Researcher

    Interview with James McKusick, a researcher at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a member of the board of directors of the Edgar Snow Memo...
    Since 2016, McKusick has visited China three times and traveled to a number of cities and villages. He said that the development achievements China has made over the last decade are remarkable and exemplary. McKusick gained an interest in China from U.S. journalist Edgar Snow's 1937 book "Red Star Over China." Oct 10, 2022

  • School of Science and Engineering Recognizes Alumni, Supporters, Donors

    TREKK, McDonnell among this year’s Vanguard Award winners
    The School of Science and Engineering recognized this year’s top donors, alumni and organizations at the 2022 Vanguard Awards.  The annual awards program is an opportunity to spotlight those who help expand STEM education and outreach in Kansas City.  2022 Vanguard Recipients  Young Alumni Award: Lauren Koval (BSCE ’17)  After her graduation in 2017, she joined McCownGordon Construction, where she progressed from a project engineer to an engineering manager and was responsible for many high-profile projects locally and regionally. In 2020, she received the Rising Trendsetter STEMMY award.   At UMKC, Koval was an exemplary student, playing for the UMKC Division 1 women’s soccer team, and being named academic all-conference for all four years in the program, all while also being a UMKC Trustee’s scholar. Koval continues to mentor UMKC Trustee’s scholars. She joined the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Advisory board in 2020 and was named chair in 2021. Supporter Award: Tom McDonnell  McDonnell has been one of the biggest supporters of SSE over the years. Recently, he was among the first donors to sign on to support the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center.  STEM Outreach Partner of the Year: Notre Dame de Sion and St. Teresa’s Academy  Notre Dame de Sion High School and St. Teresa’s Academy are committed to engaging young women in STEM in a variety of different ways. Last year, Sion’s students toured the Plaster Center and applied the concepts they learned in math into a CAD/3D printing project.   St. Teresa’s students visited campus and spent a whole day immersed in learning about aerospace engineering or augmented and virtual reality, taking their knowledge back to school to create independent projects. These trips give students hands-on experiences and allow them to develop an enthusiasm for pursuing STEM degrees.  Company of the Year: TREKK Design Group, LLC  Founders Kimberly and Trent Robinett met as students at the formerly known School of Computing and Engineering, where, in 1995, Kimberly received a degree in electrical engineering and Trent a degree in civil engineering.   In 2002, the two launched TREKK Design Group. TREKK’s early projects focused primarily on transportation and site development work across Kansas City and later transitioned to focus on wastewater field services. In 2014, Kimberly and Trent were honored with the UMKC Alumni Achievement Award.   TREKK continues to support SSE through its sponsorship of the structural lab overlook and study areas within the Plaster Center. Trent also serves as a practitioner for the civil senior design class.  To view last year’s Vanguard winners, click here. Oct 07, 2022

  • UMKC Faculty Earn Promotion and Tenure Appointments

    Board of Curators selects two faculty members to receive Curators’ Distinguished Professorship, the university’s highest academic honor
    UMKC celebrated the promotion and tenure of more than 30 faculty members Sept. 20. “Achieving promotion and tenure requires significant focus and dedication. In addition to the rigorous academic review required to be promoted and or tenured, you persevered through the challenges that the pandemic has brought over the past few years,” Jenny Lundgren, UMKC provost, said. “You shifted to remote learning, and sometimes shifted back again, modified curricula, reconfigured research studies and performances, and supported students in distress – all while handling the disruption in your personal lives. Your accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable.” Lundgren noted the depth and commitment to their students and academic disciplines were admirable. “We are fortunate that you have invested your time and talent here at UMKC. Your achievements are your own, but your colleagues, students, and the world benefit from them.” Lundgren announced that the UM System Board of Curators approved two UMKC faculty members for the System’s highest academic honor. Max Vitiello, Ph.D., from the Department of History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was appointed Curators’ Distinguished Professor. Tina Niemi, Ph.D., Earth and Environmental Sciences in the School of Science and Engineering, has been appointed as Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor.   Other faculty awards and honors – such as new Curators’ Distinguished Professors, and Trustees’, Governor’s and Chancellor’s awards for research, teaching, mentoring, community engagement and commitment to diversity and inclusion – will be presented at a separate event in the spring semester. The promotion and tenure process at UMKC involves a lengthy and rigorous review of academic performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service. Each of the academics recognized at the celebration has demonstrated to their peers and to the administration that they have met high standards for sustained contributions and outstanding performance. UMKC 2022 Promotion and Tenure Alison Graettinger, School of Science and Engineering, tenure with promotion to associate professor      Oh Ha, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Erin Hambrick, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences, tenure with promotion to associate professor Bryan Hong, Bloch School of Management, tenure with promotion to associate professor            Ryan Mohan, School of Science and Engineering, tenure with promotion to associate professor Mostafizur Rahman, School of Science and Engineering, tenure with promotion to associate professor Roozmehr Safi,  Bloch School of Management, tenure with promotion to associate professor Joanna Scott, School of Dentistry, tenure with promotion to associate professor Fengpeng Sun, School of Science and Engineering, tenure with promotion to associate professor Sarah Cox, School of Pharmacy, promotion to associate clinical professor Elizabeth Englin, School of Pharmacy, promotion to associate clinical professor     Kristin Lee, School of Nursing and Health Studies, promotion to associate clinical professor          Juliana Redford, School of Dentistry, promotion to associate clinical professor Linda Seabaugh, School of Dentistry, promotion to associate clinical professor      Holly Hagle, School of Nursing and Health Studies, promotion to associate research professor     Paul Barron, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to associate teaching professor Bryan Boots, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor    Lena Hoober-Burkhardt, School of Science and Engineering. promotion to associate teaching professor Preetham Goli, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to associate teaching professor Bill Keeton, Bloch School of Management promotion to associate teaching professor        Julie Kline, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor Melisa Schulte, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor Amy Simmons, School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences, promotion to associate teaching professor Pat Welsh, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor Larry Wigger, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor Michael Wizniak, Bloch School of Management, promotion to associate teaching professor Cynthia Flanagan, promoted to librarian II Stuart Hinds, University Libraries, promoted to librarian III  Tracey Hughes, University Libraries, promotion to librarian III Mardi Mahaffy, University Libraries, promotion to librarian IV Sandy Rodriguez, University Libraries,  promoted to librarian IV Lindy Smith, University Libraries, Promoted to Librarian III  Marie Thompson, University Libraries, Promoted to Librarian III     Cydney McQueen, School of Pharmacy, promotion to clinical professor Eileen Cocjin, School of Dentistry, promotion to clinical professor Cydney E. McQueen, School of Pharmacy, promoted to clinical professor  Erica Ottis, School of Pharmacy, promotion to clinical professor      Andrew Smith, School of Pharmacy, promotion to clinical professor           Rebeca Weisleder, School of Dentistry, promotion to clinical professor Brenda Bethman, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, promotion to teaching professor John Eck, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to teaching professor Beth Elswick, UMKC Conservatory, promotion to teaching professor Phillip Gonsher, Bloch School of Management, promotion to teaching professor Brian Hare, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to teaching professor Margaret Kincaid, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to teaching professor Kevin Kirkpatrick, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to teaching professor Rana Lehr-Lehnardt, School of Law, promotion to teaching professor Brian Frehner, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, promotion to professor DeAnna Hiett, UMKC Conservatory, promotion to professor Zhu Li, School of Science and Engineering, promotion to professor Tim Lynch, School of Law, promotion to professor Cynthia Petrie, School of Dentistry, promotion to professor Melisa Rempfer, School of Social Work and Psychological Sciences, promotion to professor Tom Rosenkranz, UMKC Conservatory, promotion to professor Zach Shemon, UMKC Conservatory, promotion to professor Mikah Thompson, School of Law, promotion to professor Michael Wacker, School of Medicine, promotion to professor Ye Wang, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, promotion to professor   Oct 06, 2022

  • UMKC Infectious Disease Collaboration Awarded $879K

    Interdisciplinary team receives CDC grant to develop a new generation of mathematical and computational models of infectious diseases
    In the last months of 2019, Majid Bani Yaghoub, Ph.D., planned his mathematics curriculum to study a new virus that was beginning to spread in China. He knew mathematical modeling and analysis based on a real-world situation would be a good fit with his students in Graduate Differential Equations. Even then, before COVID-19 became a common topic of global study, Bani’ s students were using optimal control theory to predict the best way to minimize spread. Bani is furthering his work through interdisciplinary research to develop and implement mathematical and computational models to optimize control and prevention of infection in healthcare settings. Bani has assembled researchers from the UMKC Division of Computing, Analytics and Mathematics; the UMKC Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics; the UMKC School of Medicine; University Health; the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department; and the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to form the Midwest Virtual Laboratory of Pathogen Transmission in Healthcare Settings (MVL-PATHS), an interdisciplinary research collaborative. The Center for Disease Control awarded MVL-PATHS a three year $879,162 grant to develop a new generation of mathematical and computational models of infectious diseases. The team will use the One Health modeling approach, which incorporates interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment. Bani believes the One Health approach – a process that recognizes the health interconnections among people, animals, plants and their shared environment – is crucial to identify risk factors for transmission of healthcare-associated infections. The research team will be working with healthcare providers to record their movements, how much time they spend with patients and other factors in order to collect data that will make models more accurate than the current models. “We’re not interested in watching individuals,” he says. “The models will identify high-risk movement patterns  and hotspots  at a hospital so that we can have better control of asymptomatic spread of infection.” The research could foster a healthier general population, but the team is paying special attention to vulnerable populations. “Already, the research shows that people who are working in nursing homes may work at multiple locations, so it’s possible they are taking infections from one nursing home to another. This is not about laying blame. The research can help us discover ways that we can improve the situation.” The interdisciplinary team is critical to the research success. “This is a great start for the UMKC School of Science and Engineering and a direct result of the university’s restructuring through UMKC Forward,” Bani said. “The COVID-19 pandemic taught us many lessons, and one of the key lessons was that math models are useful, though they are far from perfect. There is a need to create a new generation of math models, computational models and tools that can become more accurate, more reliable.” But the work goes beyond research of what has already occurred. “The essence of this project is to develop a virtual laboratory for simulation of disease spread, and at the same time train PhDs who can implement the virtual laboratory in health institutes, and work with the Center for Disease Control and health departments,” Bani said. “There were many things that we could have done to lessen the impact of COVID-19. The key now is to learn from that experience and use the One Health modeling approach rather than looking at an individual farm or hospital. We must recognize that the world is fully connected, and we need to look at these problems as one big picture and see how these different units and communities can work together.” Oct 04, 2022